By Charly SHELTON
“Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.”
So read the opening lines of the children’s storybook, “Dragons Love Tacos,” by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. The hit storybook has spawned sequels and toys and gift sets, and now a taco party. Once Upon A Time children’s bookshop in Montrose hosted a taco party to reintroduce the book to a new audience of young readers in preparation for the sequel scheduled for release this May.
“The publisher [Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House] emailed us and asked us if we would be interested in hosting a ‘Dragons Love Tacos’ party, and I said ‘Sure. Is the author is going to come?’ and they said ‘No, this is one where Mr. Dragon will come,’” said Maureen Palacios, owner of OUAT.
Mr. Dragon himself, the focus of the book who is interviewed to find out why dragons do, in fact, love tacos, came by the OUAT bookshop to listen to storytime and pose for photos with excited kids and their even more excited parents.
“We’ve had experience with that before,” Palacios said. “We had an Olivia [the Pig] party that was really great. So I figured we could make this really fun, and then, of course, we have such a great place, Epic Tacos, down the street. So I thought – a parade! I love a parade.”
After stories had been read and pictures had been taken, it was time for Mr. Dragon to lead the procession of kids and parents from OUAT at Honolulu Avenue and Verdugo Road down one block to Epic Taco Shop at Broadview Drive and Verdugo Road. The kids and parents, and dragons, dined on tacos before returning to OUAT for more stories.
Palacios said she wanted to work with Epic Taco Shop because she enjoys their tacos and they are both small businesses trying to make it in a chain-store world. But being small businesses, Palacios limited the event to 20 children so as not to overwhelm Epic Taco or OUAT. Because with each child comes one adult, or two, or sometimes three.
“[Epic Taco Shop is] like us – small but mighty. So [Friday] I told them one figure and then today [Saturday] I told them twice that [number], which I didn’t mean to but as people RSVP’d, [the event] grew,” Palacios said.
All-in-all, the event was a success and Palacios said that for the children who couldn’t make it to this event, there are always more fun things to do coming up. On March 3 at 7 p.m., OUAT’s favorite read-aloud picture book creator Jon Agee will be doing a storytime and book signing to celebrate the release of his newest book, “Life on Mars.”
For more information and other events coming up, visit shoponceuponatime.com.